NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2022
Alex Ovechkin tallies his 800th career goal, Mitch Marner’s point streak continues, notable news from the latest Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin joined Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe in the NHL’s 800-goal club in a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ovechkin tallied a hat trick with the third goal reaching the milestone, finishing the night with four points as his Capitals improved to 15-12-4. Tyler Johnson scored for the Blackhawks (7-16-4) after missing 20 games with an ankle injury while teammate Petr Mrazek (23 saves) returned to the lineup after being sidelined for three games with a groin injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin was congratulated by Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews following the game. The Capitals superstar needs just two goals to surpass Howe (801) for second place on the all-time list. He’s currently 94 goals behind Gretzky.
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his points streak to 23 games by collecting two assists in a 7-0 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Alex Kerfoot scored two goals, Conor Timmins and Pontus Holmberg each collected three assists and Ilya Samsonov had a 28-save shutout for the Leafs (19-5-6) as they’ve gone 12-0-3 over their last 15 games. Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury as his club fell to 7-20-3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks forward Adam Henrique left in the first period after being struck in the face by a Mark Giordano shot but got stitched up and returned to finish the game.
The Edmonton Oilers rose to 17-13-0 on the season by defeating the Nashville Predators 6-3. Leon Draisaitl (five points), Connor McDavid (four points) and Zach Hyman (four points, including a hat trick) combined for 13 points, with McDavid extending his points streak to 10 games. Roman Josi collected two assists for the Predators, who drop to 12-12-3.
Shootout goals by Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak lifted the Boston Bruins over the New York Islanders by a score of 4-3. DeBrusk also scored twice and collected an assist in regulation as the Bruins (23-4-1, 47 points) open a three-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the overall standings. Noah Dobson and Josh Bailey each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders (17-12-1), who’ve dropped five of their last seven games.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson made 40 saves to blank the Los Angeles Kings 6-0. Tage Thompson scored two goals and Dylan Cozens collected three assists for the Sabres (13-14-2) while the Kings drop to 15-12-5.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson joined Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bower as just the second goaltender in NHL history with a 40-save shutout at age 41 or older.
The Dallas Stars improved to 17-8-5 with a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Roope Hintz broke a 1-1 tie while Scott Wedgewood kicked out 35 shots. The Devils (21-6-2) have lost three games.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault scored two straight power-play goals in the third period as his club held off the Winnipeg Jets 6-5. Chandler Stephenson collected four assists for the 21-9-1 Golden Knights as they hold a four-point lead (43 points) over the Stars for first place in the Western Conference. Mark Scheifele picked up a hat trick for the 18-9-1 Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights were without defenseman Shea Theodore and Zach Whitecloud. Theodore is week-to-week with a lower-body injury while Whitecloud (lower body) is month-to-month.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos extended his points streak to 14 games in a 6-2 win over the Seattle Kraken. Stamkos scored his 497th career goal, Nikita Kucherov collected three assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots for the Lightning (18-9-1) while the Kraken (16-9-3) have lost four of their last five contests.
The Colorado Avalanche held off the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2. Artturi Lekhonen and J.T. Compher each had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche improved to 15-10-2 while the Flyers (9-14-7) lost four straight games.
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov picked up his second straight shutout in a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kochetkov made 27 stops while Brady Skjei scored in the first period as the Hurricanes rise to 16-6-6 while the Red Wings fall to 13-9-6.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red wings captain Dylan Larkin injured his right hand blocking a shot and will miss Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
The Florida Panthers downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 as Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season. Sam Reinhart had a goal and two assists while Matthew Tkachuk scored and collected an assist for the Panthers (14-12-4). The Blue Jackets fell to 10-16-2.
San Jose Sharks forward Nick Bonino scored for the fourth straight game and added an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka stopped 30 shots for the 9-14-4 Coyotes while the Sharks improved to 10-16-5.
TSN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reports the salary cap for 2023-24 is expected to rise by $1 million to $83 million following the second and final day of the league board of governors meetings. He said that figure was based on current revenue projections but didn’t rule out the possibility that revenue could exceed projections and the cap could be higher.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are still paying off their share of the debt incurred from shutting down the 2019-20 regular season due to COVID-19 followed by the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign.
Bettman indicated there would have to be a discussion with the NHL Players Association to amend the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding to increase the cap for next season beyond the agreed-upon rate of $1 million. Some observers believe the league is open to that but they’re waiting for the PA to approach them about it.
Bettman also said that there are more than a dozen potential buyers interested in purchasing the Ottawa Senators. He and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have met with actor Ryan Reynolds to discuss his interest in the franchise.
The commissioner said the league’s investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving Canada’s 2018 World Junior team is nearing completion. They are awaiting the results of the London, Ontario police investigation.
Bettman continues to have no interest in a change to the current playoff format that would allow for a four-team “play-in” round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun conducted an informal poll of 12 NHL governors and they were unanimous in supporting a play-in round. However, they didn’t want to go on the record for fear of running afoul of Bettman. The commissioner considers expanding the playoff format as trying to fix a non-existent problem.
IN OTHER NEWS…
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Cole Caufield escaped serious injury from his collision with Calgary Flames forward Trevor Lewis on Monday. He traveled with the team to Ottawa and is expected to be in the lineup for tonight’s game with the Senators.
The Canadiens also revealed center Sean Monahan and defenseman David Savard will be sidelined for another two-three weeks.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry has been placed on the long-term injured reserve list with an undisclosed injury.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets claimed winger Karson Kuhlman off waivers from the Seattle Kraken.